North Korea threatens 'indiscriminate' military strikes on South, nuclear strikes on U.S. (The Washington Times)

August 15, 2015

By Kellan Howell  

North Korea on Saturday threatened to launch “indiscriminate” military strikes on South Korea unless it halts cross-border propaganda broadcasts, and issues new nuclear warnings to the U.S. 

The new threats come amid escalating military tensions on the Korean peninsula following a land-mine attack South Korea has blamed on the North and ahead of a major South Korea-US join military exercise condemned by Pyongyang, The Agence France Presse reported.

After two land-mine blasts maimed two South Korean soldiers on border patrol, Seoul this week resume loud radio propaganda broadcasts across the border, using loudspeakers that had lain silent for more than a decade. 

Pyongyang vehemently denied the accusations that it was responsible for the mine incident as “absurd,” and its frontline army border command on Saturday demanded the broadcasts be halted immediately or risk “an all-out military action of justice to blow up all means for ‘anti-North psychological warfare’ in all areas along the front,” AFP reported.  

The action will involve “indiscriminate strikes which envisage even possible challenge and escalating counter action,” the command said in a statement carried by the North’s official KCNA news agency.

In addition, the North’s National Defense Commission threatened the U.S. with the “strongest military counter-action” should the joint exercise with South Korea go ahead, AFP reported. 

The North Korean army and people “are no longer what they used to be in the past when they had to counter the US nukes with rifles,” the commission said in a statement.

It is now an “invincible power equipped with both latest offensive and defensive means … including nuclear deterrence,” it said, AFP reported.

The threats also come as both Koreas celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Korean peninsula’s 1945 liberation from Japanese colonial rule. North Korea changed it’s time zone to mark the occasion, and now operated on “Korea Time.”

North Korea Plans Big Show Of Force (International Business Times)

In response to public disruptions that may have destabilized the ruling elite of North Korea, the country is planning a huge military parade and a military demonstration to bring back confidence in the country’s ruler, Kim Jong-Un. Kim has ordered an estimated 16 executions of senior North Korean government officials in just this year alone and an estimated 70 officials since he took over control of the country from his late father in 2011.

The purges have sparked increased public demonstrations against the leader and group defections from the country. North Korea, a nuclear power, has long been experimenting with long-range missile capabilities. Earlier this week, it was discovered that the country is expanding its uranium enrichment capacity and had threatened to turn South Korea into a “sea of fire” because of propaganda leaflets flown into the country.

This would not by any means be the first military parade staged by the country, which is known for its grandiose celebrations of its leader and the government. The events can feature giant missiles rolled through the capital city, Pyongyang, jet fighters and helicopters flying overhead, chanting soldiers and dancing. The country has also tested missile capabilities in what has been seen as a threat to neighboring countries.

A general view shows a parade marking the 1948 establishment of North Korea, in Pyongyang in this photo taken by Kyodo September 9, 2013.  Reuters

On Friday, North Korea announced that they would attack Seoul if activists in the country didn’t stop blowing leaflets critical of the the North Korean government across the border. South Korea has been particularly critical of North Korea recently, accusing the country of laying landmines that maimed soldiers along the demilitarized zone between the two countries.

South Korea has been trying to stop the leaflets from flying over the border, but activists have been scrappy, choosing several times during the night to float them over. North Korea called the leaflets blown over the border an “open declaration of war.”

South Korean analysts have said recently that Kim is a bigger threat to their country than his father was during his tenure as the leader.

'Every name has a story' as Vietnam wall visits Lehigh Valley (Lehigh Valley Live)

August 14, 2015

By Jim Deegan  

Keith Handwerk took a long, deep breath, his head swimming in the memories of 40 years ago.

“You don’t realize how deep it goes,” Handwerk said of the aftermath of war.

He was among the first visitors Thursday to the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall, which is on display at the  Moore Township Recreation Center through 8 a.m. Monday.

Handwerk, 59, served in the U.S. Navy but didn’t fight in Vietnam. He spent several solemn minutes inspecting the wall, stopping here and there along it’s 288-feet length. He left with tears in his eyes.

“I think there should be more of these because we should never forget our veterans,” said Handwerk, of Lehigh Township. “A lot of these guys were drafted. They didn’t have a choice. They went.

“It’s a lot of history. Every name has a story.”


RELATED: Visitors to mobile Vietnam wall to receive pieces of Old Glory


Made of aluminum, the wall is a three-fifths replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and contains the names of the 58,227 servicemen and women killed or missing in action during war.

The Nam Knights motorcycle club and volunteers assembled it in about three hours Thursday morning in the outfield of a baseball diamond at the Moore Township recreation fields.

Folks trickled in and out ahead of a candlelight vigil set for Thursday night in remembrance of the 70 Northampton County servicemen who died in Vietnam and whose names grace the monument.

An opening ceremony is set for 7 p.m. Friday, followed by a wreath-laying ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Handwerk reflected on the way servicemen and women are treated now compared to the Vietnam era. Differences over the war and U.S. politics divided family and friends and recollections of that still sting today, he said.

His time at the memorial was emotional.

“Some of these guys that fought alongside the guys that didn’t make it, I don’t know how they do it,” he said. “It’s a scar you never get over.”

Grant and Joanne Wambold, who live in Moore Township, marveled at the scale and spectacle of the wall. It is comprised of 70 panels and owned and maintained by the  Vietnam and All Veterans of Brevard in Brevard County, Florida.

“It’s beautiful,” said Grant, an 84-year-old Korean War veteran.

The visit to the Lehigh Valley was made possible by two Scout groups — Cub Scout Pack 50 of Moorestown and Boy Scout Troop 33 of Klecknersville — that raised $10,000 to bring it here.

Lynn Kessler, whose sons are involved with the Scout groups, said the grounds will be open around the clock for the public. Thousands are expected through the weekend.

Clayton and Sandy Miller came Thursday from Schnecksville because they had never been to the memorial in the nation’s capital. Clayton Miller is a 1970 graduate of Liberty High School in Bethlehem whose classmates fought in Vietnam.

The pull and presence of the wall were powerful, the couple said.

“You feel sorry for the people and their families,” Sandy Miller said.

Some visitors spent a long time at the wall, touching the etched names or making rubbings with paper and pencil. Others visited only briefly, finding the name they were seeking before leaving.

Some left flowers or placards at the wall’s base. Staffers have a log book to help find names and visitors can examine a Vietnam era encampment.

Doc Russo, the wall manager with the Florida veterans’ group, said he gets more than 100 requests but only takes the wall on the road 18 times a year.

Folks can visit at any hour until 8 a.m. Monday, when it will be dissembled and on the road again for stops in Florida and Iowa.

It’s not uncommon for Vietnam veterans or a clutch of friends to visit at 3 in the morning, he said.

“They’ll go to the panel, say hello to their buddies and leave,” he said. “Everybody reacts a little bit differently.”

Jim Deegan may be reached at jdeegan@lehighvalleylive.com. Follow him on Twitter @jim_deegan. Find lehighvalleylive on Facebook.

Audi 100% Electric SUV Will Have 311 Miles of Range (EV Obsession)

Utilizing battery cells from LG Chem as well as Samsung SDI, Audi has announced that it is planning to produce a fully electric SUV with 311 miles (500 kilometers) of range. If that wasn’t enough to get you sitting up much straighter in your chair, Audi says that it will actually be putting the battery modules together itself.

Audi Q7

Audi Q7

I think this clearly puts Audi (and mother company Volkswagen) up there with just a few other automakers for its seriousness when it comes to electrification. Aside from Tesla, only General Motors (GM) has announced a long-range all-electric model, the Chevy Bolt. Nissan has made it clear that it is soon going to announce one as well, though. Volkswagen hinted at it a couple of times, but it has been the most vague of the few automakers mixing the terms or concepts “long-range” and “all-electric.”

Considering that it will be an SUV and will have 311 miles of range, far more than the 200 miles that other “long-range” electric vehicles are targeting (i.e., the Chevy Bolt, Tesla Model 3, and a long-range Nissan), I’m guessing Audi is going to price this in the premium category. Presumably, it won’t go so high as to “compete” with the Model X – who can compete with the falcon-wing doors, “spectacular” second-row seats, and Tesla performance? So, my guess is that it will either be priced a bit lower… or will simply sit on the lower end of the sales tables.

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While this is big news, it’s also vague news. Audi hasn’t provided a date for launch of this vehicle, and previous announcement have noted it would be sometime in 2018, three years from now. Nonetheless, it is still a bit exciting to see Audi stating that it will be the one putting together its battery modules, and officially announcing an impressive 311 miles of range (of course, what it actually pinpointed was the very round number of 500 kilometers).

“Together with our South Korean development partners, we are bringing production of the latest battery‑cell technology to the EU and strengthening European industry with this key technology,” stated Dr. Bernd Martens, Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG for Procurement. The cell modules are to offer particularly high performance. “This will allow us to supply a technological solution that makes electric cars even more attractive for our customers.”

“With our first battery‑electric Audi‑SUV, we are combining an emission‑free drive system with driving pleasure,” said Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG for Development. “We will optimally integrate the innovative cell modules developed with LG Chem and Samsung SDI into our vehicle architecture, thus achieving an attractive overall package of sportiness and range.”

Great news? I’m counting it as such.

Image by Zachary Shahan | EV Obsession | CleanTechnica